|Birth name||Harold Edward Vick|
April 3, 1936|
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States
November 13, 1987 (aged 51)|
New York, New York, United States
|Genres||Hard bop, Soul jazz|
|Instruments||Tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute|
|Labels||Blue Note Records, RCA Victor|
|Associated acts||Grant Green, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Shirley Scott|
Harold Vick was born on April 3, 1936 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. At the age of 13 he was given a clarinet by his uncle, Prince Robinson, a clarinet and tenor saxophone player who had been a member of McKinney's Cotton Pickers. Three years later he took up the tenor saxophone, and soon began playing in R&B bands. He continued to perform, still largely with R&B bands, while studying psychology at Howard University.
Recordings as leader
Steppin' Out!, Vick's first album as leader, was recorded for Blue Note in 1963. After a 1965 performance at Carnegie Hall with Donald Byrd, Vick secured a contract for further albums as leader, and from 1966 to 1974 he had further recording sessions for the RCA, Muse, and Strata-East labels.
Work as sideman
Vick worked as a sideman with Jack McDuff from 1960 to 1964, and also with other organists such as Jimmy McGriff, Big John Patton, and Larry Young. For the rest of the 1960s he played on and off with Walter Bishop, Jr., and also worked with Philly Joe Jones, Howard McGhee, Donald Byrd and Ray Charles, and appeared with Dizzy Gillespie at the 1968 Newport Jazz Festival.
Vick then worked for around 5 years with soul artists, from 1969 to 1970 with King Curtis, and from 1970 to 1974 with Aretha Franklin. He played in Jack DeJohnette's jazz-rock band Compost from 1971 to 1973, recording with them in 1972.
After a heart attack in the mid 1970s, Vick largely returned to soul jazz, working with Shirley Scott from 1974 to 1976 and with Jimmy McGriff from 1980 to 1981. At the same time he continued to work as a freelance jazz musician and session musician. As late as 1987 he performed on two Billie Holiday tribute albums by Abbey Lincoln.
Film and Theatre
During the 1960s Vick worked as a member of the house band at the Apollo Theater, and in 1969 he toured Europe as a musician with the Negro Ensemble Company. He also played for a number of stage productions during the 1980s.
He appeared in the films Stardust Memories (1981) and The Cotton Club (1984), in which he played a musician. He was also cast for the Spike Lee film School Daze (1988), and undertook work for the soundtracks for a number of other films.
Vick died at his Manhattan home of a heart attack on November 13, 1987. He was memorialised by the tune "Did You See Harold Vick?", which Sonny Rollins wrote and featured on his album This Is What I Do (2000).
- 1963: Steppin' Out! (Blue Note)
- 1966: The Caribbean Suite (RCA Victor)
- 1966: Straight Up (RCA Victor)
- 1967: Commitment (Muse), released 1974
- 1967: Watch What Happens (RCA Victor)
- 1973: The Power of Feeling (Encounter Records, released under the name "Sir Edward")
- 1974: Don't Look Back (Strata-East)
- 1977: After the Dance (Wolf)
With Walter Bishop Jr.
- Coral Keys (Black Jazz, 1971)
With Jack McDuff
- Goodnight, It's Time to Go (Prestige, 1961)
- On With It! (Prestige, 1961 )
- Brother Jack Meets the Boss (Prestige, 1962) - with Gene Ammons
- Soul Summit Vol. 2 (Prestige, 1962) - with Gene Ammons
- Somethin' Slick! (Prestige, 1963)
- Crash! (Prestige, 1963) - with Kenny Burrell
- Brother Jack at the Jazz Workshop Live! (Prestige, 1963)
- Soul Circle (Prestige, 1964-66 [rel. 1968])
- Steppin' Out (Prestige, 1961-66 [rel. 1969])
- The Fourth Dimension (Cadet, 1974)
- Live It Up (Sugar Hill, 1984)
With John Patton
With Joe Chambers
- The Almoravid (Muse, 1974)
With Grant Green
- Soul Mist! (Prestige, 1966 [rel. 1970])
With Sam Jones
- Something New (Interplay, 1979)
With Les McCann
- Another Beginning (Atlantic, 1974)
With Duke Pearson
- Prairie Dog (Atlantic, 1966)
With Charles Tolliver
- Impact (Strata-East, 1975)
With McCoy Tyner
- Cosmos (Blue Note, tracks with Vick recorded 1969 [rel. 1977])
With Johnny Hammond
- Wild Horses Rock Steady (Kudu, 1971)
- Gambler's Life (Salvation, 1974)
With Houston Person
- Houston Express (Prestige, 1971)
With Bernard Purdie
- Soul Is... Pretty Purdie (Flying Dutchman, 1972)
With Horace Silver
- Total Response (Blue Note, 1971)
- All (Blue Note, 1972)
- The United States of Mind (Blue Note, 2004; compilation of both above albums)
- Compost (Columbia, 1972)
- Life Is Round (Columbia, 1973)
With Bu Pleasant
- Ms. Bu (Muse, 1973)
With Shirley Scott
- One for Me (Strata-East, 1974)
With Bob Moses
- Home in Motion (Ra-Kalam Records, 1979 [rel. 2012])
With Pharoah Sanders
- Live at the East (Impulse!, 1972)
With Larry Willis
- Inner Crisis (Groove Merchant, 1973)
- Barry Kernfeld (ed.)(2002): The New Grove dictionary of Jazz. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited. 2nd ed, Vol 3, p. 843.
- Sarah Bryan, Beverly Patterson (2013). African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press Books, p. 112.
- Kelsey, Chris. "Harold Vick Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-06-23.
- "Harold E. Vick, 51, A Tenor Saxophonist". The New York Times. November 17, 1987. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- Graybow, Steve (2000). Jazz Blue Notes, Billboard November 11, 2000, p. 43